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Roving Periscope: National interest is India’s foremost guiding principle in foreign policy, says PM Modi

Roving Periscope: National interest is India’s foremost guiding principle in foreign policy, says PM Modi

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Virendra Pandit 

 

New Delhi: National interest is the foremost guiding principle in India’s foreign policy, which follows a “mix-and-match diplomacy” focused on pragmatic engagement aligned with the country’s interests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

“The world is interconnected as well as interdependent,” he observed in an interview with the British daily Financial Times, as he underscored the complexity of global dynamics.

“This stance allows us to engage with various nations in a manner that respects mutual interests and acknowledges the complexities of contemporary geopolitics.”

Asked about India’s relationship with the United States and whether it could be characterized as an alliance, PM Modi highlighted the “upward trajectory” of relations. “Regarding the best words to describe this relationship, I leave it to you,” he said, adding, “Today, the India-US relationship is broader in engagement, deeper in understanding, and warmer in friendship than ever before.”

Recently, the US Justice Department had claimed that an Indian government employee, who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited a fellow Indian identified as Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to allegedly assassinate India’s designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is a dual-citizen of the US and Canada. It also claimed the alleged plot was foiled by the US authorities.

Responding to these claims, PM Modi said he would “look into” any evidence and added that “few incidents” would not affect the US-India ties.

“If a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad, we are ready to look into it. Our commitment is to the rule of law,” he asserted.

He also said he has “close ties” with Russian President Vladimir Putin in keeping with India’s decades-old non-alignment policy but also cemented a “closer-than-ever” relationship with President Joe Biden during a June state visit to the US.

During this visit, he said the partnership between India and the United States will make the world better in the 21st century.

About the potential of India-US defense industrial cooperation, the Prime Minister said the decision to manufacture fighter jet engines by General Electric will be a milestone in the journey of India’s defense sector. The bilateral Artemis Accord would open many possibilities in the space sector.

A joint statement after his US visit said that PM Modi and President Joe Biden welcomed the depth and pace of enhanced consultations between the two governments on regional issues, including South Asia, the Indo-Pacific, and East Asia.

In the FT interview, PM Modi also addressed the Israel-Hamas war, outlining India’s stance on a two-state solution and delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza. While refraining from direct criticism of his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, he reiterated India’s commitment to fostering peace in the region.

“I remain in touch with the leaders in the region. If there is anything India can do to take forward efforts towards peace, we will certainly do so,” he affirmed, highlighting India’s proactive role in contributing to regional stability.

After the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel, which left over 1,200 Israelis dead, New Delhi expressed solidarity with Tel Aviv but also advocated the two-state solution for peace in the Middle East (West Asia).

India sent humanitarian aid for the people of Palestine, comprising medical aid and disaster relief material, and PM Modi was among the first global leaders to talk to the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

In his address to the Second Voice of the Global South Summit, PM Modi said, “We are all seeing that new challenges are emerging from the events in the West Asia region. India has condemned the terrorist attack in Israel on October 7. We have exercised restraint as well. We have emphasized dialogue and diplomacy. We also strongly condemn the deaths of civilians in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. After talking to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, we have also sent humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine. This is the time when the countries of the Global South should unite for the greater global good.”

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